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Csonka’s Style Battle S1: E1 Review 1.07.17

January 8, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s Style Battle S1: E1 Review 1.07.17  

Csonka’s Style Battle S1: E1 Review 1.07.17

– Dave Crist defeated Darby Allin @ 7:14 via pin [**½]
– Dezmond Xavier defeated Sammy Guevara @ 13:30 via pin [**¾]
– AR Fox defeated Austin Theory @ 14:20 via pin [***½]
– Fred Yehi vs. Anthony Henry went to a draw @ 30:00 [****]
– Dave Crist defeated Dezmond Xavier @ 7:05 via pin [**½]
FRAY ELIMINATION Match: Jason Kincaid won @ 14:30 [**¾]
Style Battle S2: E1 Finals: Dave Crist defeated AR Fox @ 14:30 via pin [***½]

– Sadly no Lenny Leonard tonight, we have Trevin Adams and Mister Saint Laurent on commentary.

– Style Battle is a concept Evolve has used on select weekends, and now with the partnership with FloSlam WWNLive has spun it off into its own promotion. Style Battle will run a series of shows through out the year, each show will be an eight-man tournament, crowning winners and leading to one final “Grand Style Battle final event,” where all the winners face off to be come the official Style Battle champion.

– They are apparently running in a botanical garden. Those in attendance say it’s 48 degrees or so at the venue.

Dave Crist vs. Darby Allin: Lock up to begin, they work around the ring and pick up the pacing, wit Allin using his speed to take control, hitting a dropkick. Coffin drop by Allin to the floor, back in and Allin hits a springboard head butt. Crist cuts him off with a neck breaker and works chops in the corner. The basement dropkick follows or 2. More chops by Crist, he then misses a knee strike. Crist stuns Allin off the ropes, takes control, hitting the flatliner. To the corner as Crist maintains control, hits the kick to the back as he works the neck. Allin then sends Crist to the corner, it looked odd. Cradle by Allin for 2. They work some awkward counters, Allin hits a high cross for 2. Crist then hits a pop up cutter, which got the near fall. Buckle bomb by Crist, and then the DDT finishes Allin. Dave Crist defeated Darby Allin @ 7:14 via pin [**½] This was an overall solid match, some awkwardness and off spots, but featured a solid gameplan from Crist, which played into the finish. That’s where it succeeded, but as an opening match, they failed to really capture my attention. The sound psychology was appreciated.

– Crist put over Allin post match.

Dezmond Xavier vs. Sammy Guevara: They worked some basic back and forth, leading to Guevara posing a lot. Xavier they started to out wrestle Guevara, slowing the pace a bit. He then hit a head scissors and the pace picked up as they started to work some fun counters. Fun stuff. Guevara then worked for a sleeper, Xavier escaped but ran into the dropkick. Guevara laid in some kicks, chops followed, but Xavier hit a RANA, some arm drags and a dropkick.
Chops by Xavier, but Guevara cuts him off and hits a Samoan drop and standing moonsault for 2. Stomps by Guevara followed, and then the stalling vertical suplex, Guevara covers for 2. Guevara then grounds Xavier with a chinlock, Xavier fights to his feet and hits the tiger bomb for 2. Xavier fights back with strikes and a standing corkscrew moonsault for 2. Guevara fights off the dead lift German, Guevara then hit a pop up uranage and hit a people’s shooting star leg drop for 2. Northern lights suplex by Guevara gets 2. Xavier up top, Guevara pops up top and hits the Spanish fly. Guevara up top now, 630 connects and Guevara covers for 2 as Xavier gets the ropes; that was a good near fall. Guevara back up top, misses the 630, Xavier battles back, hits a neck breaker up top, hits the corkscrew senton and picks up the win. Dezmond Xavier defeated Sammy Guevara @ 13:30 via pin [**¾] Pretty good match overall, but it lacked intensity and only got interesting in the final minute or so. It was missing something.

– Xavier puts over Guevara after the match, and says he will win the tournament.

AR Fox vs. Austin Theory: Fox trained Theory, we got a gentlemanly handshake to begin. They worked through a fast paced opening stretch, Theory hit a dropkick but Fox hit chops and hit a wheelbarrow bulldog. Fox then hit a springboard, imploding senton to the floor. Back into the ring they go, Theory cuts off Fox and chokes him out in the ropes. Kicks followed, Theory with the powerslam into the corner, but Fox cradles him for 2. Theory again cuts Fox off, hitting a lariat and lays the boots to him. Theory stars to work the arm, hits a German and covers for 2. Theory talks a lot of shit here during the heat, lays on some forearms to Fox and then trips up Fox and hits the standing moonsault for 2. Fox fires up, hits kicks and then a sling blade. Corner clothesline by Fox into the corner dropkick, the cannon ball followed. Fox up top, hits the swanton and that gets a close 2. Theory sends Fox to the corner, and hits a spinning sitout powerbomb for 2. Fox hits a head scissors, follows with forearms and then the crucifix bomb for 2. To the apron they go, they trade strikes and Fox hits a superkick. Theory then hits a fisherman’s buster on the apron, Fox rolls to the floor. Theory hits a big moonsault to the floor, back in and Theory hits a standing shooting star press for 2. Fox fights back, MISSES the 450. They trade strikes from their knees, some silly selling here, but they battle to their feet, trade more and Theory eats a bicycle kick. Fox uses the matrix, hits the enziguri and then a jumping knee. Lo Mein Pain connects, and then the brain buster follows and Theory is done. AR Fox defeated Austin Theory @ 14:20 via pin [***½] There was a big jump in quality in this match, as Fox came off like a star and better performer than everyone else on the show. Also, Theory had a great showing and when the match was done, my thoughts were that Evolve needs to start using him and that I can’t wait to see him again, even though he lost. The match was very good, had more energy than the previous matches, and it also felt like a battle that both were doing everything they could to win. The show wasn’t bad to this point, but the show needed this match.

Fred Yehi vs. Anthony Henry: Yehi grounded Henry right away, and looked to grapple early. Yehi is so much fun, with smooth grappling but raw and brutal brawling ability. He’s very unique in that aspect. Henry has been picking up buzz since mid-2016, this is a big chance for him. Both men looked for shoulder blocks, leading to a stalemate. Henry hits a suplex, but Yehi with the foot stomp and then plants Henry with a German. This led to some back and forth, feeling as if they are going long. Yehi kept going for stomps, and they worked strikes and chops. Henry fired up as they traded center ring. Yehi is great in that there is no wasted movement with him, he’s deliberate and everything he does has purpose. Every time Henry fires up. Yehi just cuts him off in a simple and brutal way. Henry finally landed some chops, hits the knee drop and lays in forearm strikes. Yehi trips him up and starts to stomp on the legs of Henry. They brawled to the floor, Henry took control and beat down Yehi. As Yehi returned to the ring, Henry laid in a series of kicks but Yehi took control with chops. Henry hit a desperation superkick for the double down. Yehi fired up with a German, Henry back to the striking game and lit Yehi up, hit the brain buster and covered for the near fall. he then worked the head scissors, controlling Yehi on the ground. Yehi with an escape, both guys throwing bombs now, kicks and head butts leading to the double down. They do the trading suplexes spot, leading to both hitting forearm strikes and another double down. Henry hits the flatliner into the corner, follows with the missile dropkick, and then the lariat, but Yehi head drops him with a German. Henry then fights back, bridging German and that gets a near fall. Henry hits a sweet spin kick, they trade pinning combos, and then Yehi hits a dropkick to cut Henry off. Yehi got pissed off, suplexes and clotheslines followed and then a powerbomb into the jack knife cover for 2. Yehi then hits an XPLODER to the buckles. They battle up top, Henry tries to fight Yehi off and crotches him and then clotheslines him to the mat. Lumbar check powerbomb by Henry into the cobra clutch crossface. Yehi fights, rolls but Henry hangs on as we hit the final two-minutes. Henry hits the spin kick again, Yehi escapes the vertebreaker and hits the fisherman buster and locks in the koji clutch. Henry fights for the ropes, but the time expires. Both men are eliminated due to the draw. Fred Yehi vs. Anthony Henry went to a draw @ 30:00 [****] This developed into quite the excellent match. They didn’t waste a lot of time, and it escalated well through out and peaked at the right time. The draw protects Yehi, a WWNlive regular (and FIP champion as well as half of the Evolve tag champions), and gives Henry some credibility by taking Yehi to the limit and not losing. The draw also educates the fans that it can happen and likely will in the future. This really felt as if they were giving Fred Yehi vs. Anthony Henry went to a draw @ 30:00 every chance to succeed; giving him the time and the right opponent to do so. Yehi delivers again, and to his credit, Henry seized the opportunity given to him. I can see him earning a regular spot with Evolve after that performance.

Dave Crist vs. Dezmond Xavier: Both guys had solid first round matches. Crist tried to attack at the bell, missed the charge and Xavier hit a reverse RANA and then a trio of dives. Great sense of urgency here from Xavier. Xavier misses the PK and Crist rolls him up for 2. Uppercuts by Xavier, but Crist hits a knee strike to cut him off. He lays in some kicks, stomps follow and then the slam and double stomp follows. Xavier fired back with rights, but gets slammed to the corner and Crist attacks the knee. Crist then abandoned the knee, opting to just hit strikes and kicks. They trade kicks and do a double down. Crist to the apron, hits a kick and hits meteora off the ropes for the near fall. Knee strikes by Crist, Xavier back with an enziguri and heads up top and misses the senton. Crist hits the snowplow or the win. Crist faces Fox in the finals. Dave Crist defeated Dezmond Xavier @ 7:05 via pin [**½] This was a solid, but unspectacular match. It wasn’t bad, but never got out of second gear. Also, Crist attacking the knee, only to immediately drop it seemed like a completely wasted segment of the match, and a missed opportunity to build to something better.

FRAY: Chris Henry vs. Trevor Aeon vs. Rob Barnes vs. Jake Omen vs. Mitch Mitchell vs. Wheeler Yuta vs. Jason Kincaid vs. Drew Bronson vs. Dante Carbajero vs. DJ Talamente vs. Chris Silvio vs. Hunter Law vs. Matt Palmer: Two competitors will start the match with another joining the match every minute. Instead of eliminations coming by throwing opponents over the top rope, a wrestler will be eliminated when he is pinned, forced to submit or knocked out. The last man standing will be the winner. This was all action, lots of moving parts, fun/big moves and some poor gear choices. Jason Kincaid eliminated Chris Silvio and Mitch Mitchell to pick up the win. Jason Kincaid won @ 14:30 [**¾] I can appreciate trying to get more names on the show, but when you run a match like this and introduce so many faces in such a short amount of time, there is just no time for guys to properly shine, to get over or for the viewer to get invested. It’s like doing a 3-minute marinade instead of a three hour one. I would have considered running two, smaller, frays (maybe one on the pre-show. It breaks up the tournament matches, and then maybe you give the winners future tournament spots. That way the matches mean something, and you actually get more of a chance to let the guts shine more and to possible care about them. This was 14–minutes of a lot of shit happening; a lot of it was fun, most of it was good, but there was nothing memorable just because there was so much happening. The structure and lay out wasn’t conducive to producing a star making performance. Jason Kincaid was the right call as the winner, he’s a WWNLive contracted guy that has been under appreciated by many. ROH had a shot at him, but like a lot of places, didn’t capitalize and sign him (par for the course with ROH these days. I love seeing Kincaid getting a fair shake with WWNLive. Overall the match was pretty good, but there was just nothing memorable about it.

AR Fox vs. Dave Crist: Crist immediately sent Fox to the floor and hit a Sasuke special like dive. They brawled to the apron; Fox hit a leg drop of the top and possibly broke his ass. Back in the ring, and Fox hit a swanton for the near fall. It’s all Fox early, playing off the fact that he is more rested. Fox continued the heat, hit the coast-to-coast dropkick and then followed with a neck breaker for a near fall. Crist finally fired back with chops, and then the hangman’s neck breaker for the near fall. Crist then hit another hangman’s neck breaker, covering again for 2. Fox now set into the tree oh WHOA, Crist then hit a coast to coat dropkick for the near fall. Crist followed with the standing moonsault for 2. Crist maintained control but ran into the lung blower. Fox up top, but Crist cuts him off and follows him up; the superplex by Crist connects. They battle up top again; Crist misses a double stomp, but then hits the pop up cutter for a good near fall. Crist hits the DDT for anther good near fall. They both climb up top again, jumping boot by Fox, who then hits Lo Mein pain and then the fox catcher for a near fall. 450 by Fox followed, but once again Crist survived. He then hit a great looking run up the ropes cutter to put Fox away. Dave Crist defeated AR Fox @ 14:30 via pin [***½] With Fox getting a bye to the finals, Crist was presented as a sympathetic figure and default face as he had to overcome the odds to win the tournament. This was a very good main event, with a really well done home stretch that featured some near falls. Where I feel the match failed was on commentary, it felt as if there was a lack of urgency there and big story points were glossed over and or barely adressed, which should have been hammered home to really put Crist over. Fox was the first ever Evolve Style Battle winner, which is something thy needed to hammer home in terms of both guys looking to make a big accomplishment (Crist beating a proven Style battle Champion) and Fox looking to prove his dominance. The other fact that was glossed over was that Fox was a star on Lucha Underground, another thing that should have been used to help raise the stock of Crist. Stuff like this is where Lenny Leonard excels and that made him greatly missed here. I liked the match, but felt they didn’t get Crist over nearly enough on commentary.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

 photo fe36ffd0-0da4-4e3b-a2d3-b026b341dd87_zps41ef5d61.jpg
“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Like any tournament, we can argue all day over who we think should have won. AR Fox or Fred Yehi could have been good choices, due to name value. They went for a “fresh” name, but in doing that I feel Anthony Henry may have been the better choice. It just felt as if something was missing with Dave Crist, and part of that was presentation and lack of storytelling on commentary.

The first effort from Style Battle was a good effort, there was nothing bad on the show, and I think that they did a good job of getting the concept out there and kicking off the project. It wasn’t a perfect debut, but there is a lot to build on here.

From what I understand, this was not the venue of choice. Athletically, it was distracting and I am usually not one too bothered by a venue, but the jungle like background did the show no favors, and made it feel low rent. Hopefully they can avoid this venue in the future.

Coming out of the show, Anthony Henry & Austin Theory are two guys you should be checking out as the year progresses...